Wednesday, January 16, 2019     Volume: 19, Issue: 45

Santa Maria Sun / Biz Spotlight

The following article was posted on May 16th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 11

Spotlight on: E&J Gallo Winery

Roger Nabedian, senior VP of Premium Wine Division


The reach of one of California’s most powerful wine firms extended further into the Central Coast region in early May when it purchased nearly 1,000 acres of vineyard property in the Santa Maria Valley.

Modesto-based E&J Gallo Winery, which boasts that it’s the world’s largest family-owned winery, made the announcements on two separate occasions, almost exactly a week apart. The company bought 542 acres of the Sierra Madre Vineyard, a few miles east of Santa Maria, and another 436 acres at the Rancho Real Vineyard, which sits about 13 miles southeast of the city.

Modesto-based E&J Gallo Winery announced the first week of May that it had purchased nearly 1,000 acres of vineyards around the Santa Maria Valley. Pictured here, the Sierra Madre Vineyard stretches for miles toward the coastal mountains.

“The purchase of Rancho Real significantly establishes Gallo in Santa Barbara County and continues our commitment to having vineyards in the premier wine-growing appellations of California,” stated Roger Nabedian, senior vice president and general manager of Gallo’s Premium Wine Division. “With the growth of premium wines in the U.S. and the demand for coastal-sourced grapes, additions like Rancho Real are key to Gallo’s growth in the premium and luxury segments.”

Rancho Real is known for its Burgundian and Rhône grape varietals, including pinot noir, chardonnay, syrah, grenache, viognier, pinot gris, and gamay. The property has a combined 211 planted acres, according to Gallo.

Sierra Madre, on the other hand, has around 151 planted acres and supplies grapes to about 35 wineries, ranging from small boutique to large companies. Gallo released a statement confirming it would honor all existing grape contracts with the vineyard’s current customers.

Sierra Madre’s former owner, Doug Circle of Circle Vision LLC, stated that despite the recent sale, his company remained “wholeheartedly committed” to the Central Coast region.

“We feel blessed to have had the opportunity to shepherd this magical Central Coast vineyard for 15 years of its exceptional 47-year history, and are pleased that it is now passing to another family who will responsibly steward it into its next chapter,” he said.

Nabedian said Gallo was “thrilled” to add the vineyard into its “premium” portfolio.

“This purchase supports Gallo’s commitment to continue making and selling luxury wines, while growing the finest grapes in Santa Barbara County,” he added.

The company currently owns and operates Edna Valley Vineyard, Bridlewood Estate Winery, and Talbott Vineyards on the Central Coast.

In 2016, business magazine Forbes valued Gallo’s annual revenue at $4.7 billion and listed it as the United States’ 80th largest private company.

The winery was founded in 1933 and is headquartered in Modesto. According to Gallo’s website, it currently employs more than 6,500 people worldwide. 


• The Santa Ynez Valley Community Action Alliance is co-sponsoring, along with Food and Water Watch, a film screening of the National Geographic documentary Water & Power: A California Heist. The program will be held on May 24 at Standing Sun Winery, 92 Second St., Buellton. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the film will begin at 7 p.m. Food and wine will be available for purchase.

• On May 4, Santa Maria’s Chamber of Commerce requested assistance from local business leaders to help keep track of state legislation aimed at economic growth. The effort, in part led by the California Chamber of Commerce, involves two lists the chambers compile and use to track potential bills titled “Job Killers” and “Job Creators.” Killers typically promote policies that impose higher taxes, regulations, or fees on businesses while creators tend to focus on keeping taxes “low, fair, stable, and predictable.” 

Staff Writer Spencer Cole wrote this week’s Biz Spotlight. Information should be sent to the Sun via fax, mail, or email at

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